Monday, 01 October 2007 04:52

We have a serious lion problem in our state. When is something going to be done about it?

Written by Hunters Alert
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We have lost the majority of our deer and the millions of dollars in revenue that go with that loss. In the 5 year period from 2001 to 2005, Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) has lost over $11 million in sales of deer licenses and tags. For over 25 years, NDOW and the Wildlife commissioners have closed their eyes to this problem.

 

When are the people in charge going to wake up? The answer is “never” until former governor Kenny Guinn’s appointments to the Wildlife Commission have expired.  The current Wildlife commissioners don’t have the knowledge and NDOW doesn’t care. NDOW employees get paid no matter how many deer there are. In addition, both groups don’t want their minds corrupted with facts. To them, the party after the Wildlife Commission meeting or making more harassing rules, is more important than the 35,000 people who want to hunt deer. This will change once Governor Jim Gibbons has selected his appointments to the Wildlife Commission.

 

Wildlife Services is a federal agency whose “mission is to protect agricultural, natural resources, property, and the human health and safety of citizens of Nevada from the threat of injury, damage, or resource loss due to wildlife.”

 

They print a monthly newsletter called “The Trapline”.  Listed below are excerpts of reports from the April, 2007 newsletter. These incidents occurred from April 1 to April 27, in other words, in other words, less than a four week period.  Please take the time to read this. It will prove why we have lost our deer.

 

·                  During the week of April 1st thru April 7th, Mt. Lion Specialist Tom Kilby spent time looking for mt. lions on the Washoe County Mule Deer Project (hunt unit 014). WS John Miller had reported that recently mt. lion tracks had started to show up around the mule deer. MLS  Kilby also had a local rancher report that he was missing a yearling horse (valued at $1,200) from his ranch  The rancher also reported that 32 mule deer were hanging around his residence, but during the past two weeks only 23 of the mule deer were seen. MLS Kilby verified that mt. lions were responsible for the animals’ death. MLS Kilby rode up the mountains and the hounds took chase and treed one mt. lion. No sooner did MLS Kilby remove this adult mt. lion that the hounds caught another adult mt. lion in the next canyon in a nasty rock pile. MLS Kilby removed the two mt. lions and was finishing the loop around the mule deer area when the hounds took pursuit on another mt. lion and after a long chase MLS Kilby removed a third adult mt. lion. MLS Kilby was just about to the pick-up truck when the hounds took off on a fourth mt. lion, but the mt. lion went through some rocky terrain and the trail turned cold. MLS Kilby will be pursuing this mt. lion in the next few days.

 

·                  During the week of April 9th thru April 13th, WS John Miller has been long lining equipment on the Washoe County Mule Deer Project (hunt unit 014). During this week, WS Miller found a location where two mt. lions had moved in around the mule deer and WS Miller found evidence where one adult doe was killed. WS Miller placed trail snares and leghold traps in the vicinity and placed out a call box to attract the mt. lions to his equipment. On April 18th, WS Miller inspected his equipment and removed a female mt. lion by method of leghold trap. WS Miller had another mt. lion in a coyote trap but unfortunately this mt. lion pulled out. This was the fourth mt. lion killed within the mule deer project during the past week. WS Miller also removed two more coyotes by method of trail snares later that day around the fawning areas.

 

·                  On April 21st, Mt. Lion Specialist Tom Kilby inspected a lamb band that had been experiencing heavy losses from a large mt. lion in Washoe County. In the days prior, a large male mt. lion had killed over 30 lambs (valued at $3,000) and ewes. On April 21st, MLS Kilby crested over a small rim on horseback and found dead ewes and lambs spread out over a 300 yard area. MLS Kilby verified 20 lambs and three ewes (valued at $2,300) were killed or crippled. Many of the small lambs had been bitten through the back and paralyzed but still alive. MLS Kilby rode around the sheep and cut the track of a large male and after a short chase the hounds caught a large 155 pound mt. lion in the rocks. The removal of the old mt. lion finally put an end to the livestock losses. WS Sam Sanders also assisted MLS Kilby on horseback during the pursuit. Historically, this area in northern Washoe County was literally absent (or very few) with mt. lions. Historical records (documented depredation reports and sportsman harvest) indicated that the mt. lions started to show up in this area in 1999 and today the number of mt. lions and livestock complaints have increased dramatically.

 

·                  During the week of April 24th thru April 27th, Mt. Lion Specialist Tom Kilby inspected the Washoe County Mule Deer Project for the presence of any mt. lions. On April 27th, MLS Kilby was riding up a steep mountain side near Granite Mtn. when he found the remains of two mule deer that had been killed a couple of days apart by a large male mt. lion. MLS Kilby pressed on trailing a large mt. lion through solid rock rim country. The recent warm weather (upper 80’s) was making one difficult task even more difficult, but through perseverance and MLS Kilby’s strong work ethic, he later removed one large (167 pound) eight year old male. This was the 5th mt. lion removed off the Granite deer project in the past two weeks. MLS Kilby found sign of another female mt. lion while returning to camp. It appears that when the weather turns warm it is not uncommon for mt. lions to kill 2-3 (or more) deer per week because the hot weather taints meat and mt. lions prefer fresh meat rather than tainted meat. The Nevada Department of Wildlife graciously allowed USDA/WS to keep this mt. lion to be life size mounted and displayed at the USDA/WS state office for educational purposes.

 

·                  On April 26th, the East District office in Ely received a call for assistance from a Lincoln County rancher that had lost a calf to what appeared to be a mountain lion. Lion Specialist Jim Buhler and District Supervisor Kevin Lansford investigated the claim and confirmed that a lion had predated the calf. A short pursuit later the large male lion was apprehended. A fresh deer carcass was also found in the area,  killed and buried by the lion.  This particular rancher has not only had calves killed by lions, but in the past, also had horses killed. The calf was valued at $500.

 

Look at what the mountain lions have done in just one hunt unit. Five mountain lions were removed in two weeks. This proves we have a serious mountain lion problem. The only reason they know what is going on in this area is because it is a deer control area. Rest assured that the rest of the state is just as infested with lions as the area they are monitoring. What is it going to take, getting some children killed, before something is done about the mountain lions. This could possibly happen in the town of Eureka. The deer are being driven into the town because of the fear of lions. Lions are very close to the school because of the deer. HUNTER’S ALERT hopes it never has to say “I told you so”.

Last modified on Sunday, 18 April 2010 11:43
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